July 29, 2008

Beach Bums


I look at them with a bucket full of sand trapped on the interior of their swimsuit and think that CAN'T be comfortable. But they just don't seem to notice.
We just returned home from a week at the beach with my husband's entire family. FUN FUN FUN! (side note: one day I hope to use the word "relaxing" to describe a vacation - but with 4 kids 6 & under, I'm not holding my breath for using that term any time in the near future.) The six families, plus his dad, were divided between two neighboring oceanfront beach houses. I think I could wake up everyday to the ocean in my backyard! We enjoyed watched dolphins galore from our deck.

Lance discovered his inner surfer-dude on the boogie board:

Eva looooved the sand:

Sadie wanted to boogie board, but could never quite catch that perfect wave. Hmm, perhaps being NEAR the waves would have been a good first step:

When Bridger wasn't soaking up all of the lovin's from his extended family, he enjoyed sticking his hand into a bucket of water and digging around to find the shells and pull them out. When he found them all we would refill the bucket, put the shells back in and give it back to him and the game would start over again. I loved watching his great motor planning with this game!

Alan enjoyed biking the boardwalk. Especially when the bike ride ends at Dairy Queen! (I know, all of our bike rides seem to end up there:)

And I had the most fun experiencing a new sport -- sea kayaking. I took each of my kids out and had SOOO much fun. Kayaking with Lance was a little more challenging than the others as I allowed him to have a paddle. Trying to coordinate my paddling to counter what he just did, and not be whacked by his paddle was tricky. Eva and Sadie were just delighted with the adventure. Sadie, who can never hold back any of her emotions was screaming with delight, "This is SOO fun mama, I'm going to DREAM about this mama, I LOVE skateboarding mama -- oh wait, what is this called again mama?" Kayaking Sadie. "Oh, I LOVE kayaking mama!!!" The seas were much rougher my second time out with them and I flipped Sadie and myself out of the kayak. (no worries, not unsafe, I was quick with the rescue) Sadie later said that was her favorite part. Here I am with Eva. . .

There was fishing at the pier, late night movies and malts, midnight games in the dark, birthday celebrations, family beach portraits, swings, hammocks, kites, chasing crabs in the dark, biking, hot tubs, the ice cream man, card games, Krispy Kremes, the shooting range, digging for buried treasure, jelly fish stings, golfing, game shows, Tom & Jerry, shark sightings, barbeques, bounce houses, beach beach beach, food food food, and sooo much more. Lots of fun for 330 sandy little toes. Cheers to Beach Week 2008!

July 14, 2008

Kids Day 2008

A few years ago Lance said, "Mom, when is Kid's Day?"

"Kid's Day?" I replied.

"Yeah, you know, you got breakfast in bed for Mother's Day, we made dad breakfast in bed for Father's Day, so when is our turn, when is Kid's Day?"
Hmmm, I thought, every day of your life is kid's day you spoiled little cutie, but going along with his logic, and it did sound logical, I said, "Oh, why it is coming soon!"

So, thus we celebrate Kid's Day each year. It comes sometime after Father's Day, on a Saturday when we have the energy and the weather looks like it will cooperate. And for the kids, not knowing the exact day it will fall on keeps them excited with anticipation. For 2008, it happened to be this past Saturday.
It begins with breakfast in bed. This is one of the biggest thrills of all to them since not even a crumb of bread is allowed to be consumed outside of the kitchen.

After breakfast, the kids proceeded down the stairs to find new fishing vests for each of them, complete with the pockets stuffed with Swedish Fish. They gathered their fishing poles and off we went for a day of fun. Sadie did not have her own fishing pole yet so we presented her with her very own Strawberry Shortcake pole. Her face was priceless! And it happened to be a full-size pole, much bigger than her brother's or sister's pole. That did not go unnoticed by ANY child and it only further added to her delight.

We took the kids to a fabulous farm that we love for its pick-your-own orchards galore, stocked fishing ponds, hayrides. . . too many activities to list or even get to in a day!

They panned for gemstones. . .

Rode the Cow Train. . .

Jumped on the ginormous pumpkin pillow. . .

Drove the pedal cars. . .

Ate some of Sadie's hair. . .

Played in the huge sandbox filled with dried corn instead of sand. . .

Zipped down giant tunnel slides. . .

Conquered Mt. Tractor Tire. . .

And completed the day with a hayride to the blueberry field. The icing on the cake for Lance was getting to ride on the tractor with the farmer.

Phewee, I think I need another Mother's Day to recover from Kid's Day:)

July 10, 2008

The Miracle of the Pea

Let me begin by saying that I do not like squash, zucchini, turnips or beans - and probably some others veggies that seem to be produced by the bushels full in a garden. But what I do like are entertained, curious, busy, wondering, productive and intrigued children (and maybe a little healthy). For this purpose, I have a garden. My garden is not infested with zucchinis, but with the plants that little hands love. The things that children's fingers cannot resist plucking and popping into their mouth, plants that produce dozens of small things that will take many days to pick.

I call ours an adventure garden. We do not test the soil, we will not win any blue ribbons for the quality of our produce. I do not even think it is worthy to share the harvest with the neighbors, although it turns out the kids have been passing the neighbor our tomatoes through the fence (I was wondering where all my tomatoes were going).

I have one rule, however. You pick it - you eat it. That is where my garden becomes one of miracles. The kids have never cared for peas. I shall leave it sounding as mild as that and not go into the frustrating dinner time moments. But, you pick it - you eat it and . . . miracle of miracles, I have 3 pea eating children! Their little fingers just can't resist plucking off the mystery pods and prying them open to discover the three green pearls inside. And, following the rule, the proceed to eat it and pick another. Peas are the perfect plant because they produce by the oodles. Near the end of the plant's life, I sent the kids out to pick every pod off, and needing some extra time to get things done, I then gave them the task of shelling all of them. They were happily entertained by this task for quite some time. Every time they go out back to play, they wander through the garden to examine the status of every growing thing out there. Eva's latest garden discovery was three ginormous, disgusting, multi-colored freaky bugs she called "cute little caterpillars". She brought them in the house in the palm of her hand to show me. I'm not one to be afraid of bugs but those looked like something out of the 'potentially poisonous' chapter of the entomology field guide. She put them in a plastic cup, "their new home" she called it, and placed the cup in the corner of the garden. I hope that they fry in the hot sun and die a horrible death in their new happy plastic home. She loves to find the worms and cares for all the creatures inhabiting the space.

I think that Lance personally ate every blueberry off of my blueberry bush and they all can't wait to get their hands on the blackberries when they become ripe.

Today, Sadie was walking around with her own baggie of beans. She was so proud of herself today that she found the longest beans and wanted to keep them in her possession until she was ready to eat them. A few have a couple nibbles off of the end already. I think that she is sleeping with her baggie right now. We are growing peas, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, blueberries, blackberries, watermelons, pumpkins and peaches. The peaches, however, are testing their patience right now.

Grow, peaches . . . GROW!!!

Next to a Flintstones vitamin, it truly has been the easiest B6 to ever get down their throats.

July 06, 2008

Eva, the Kitchen Diva

She really is a Betty Crocker in the making! Whenever I am cooking, she is right by my side, her apron on and her very own whisk in hand. She amazes me with her domestic prowess. In the morning she will often disappear for a little while, only to come tell me that she wanted to surprise me by cleaning her bathroom. If I am mopping, she is always right there wanting to wash the windows at the same time. It really brings a tear to my eye, not just that my house is getting clean (which does cause me great emotion sometimes), but at how good her heart is! She really wants a happy home. She tells everyone that she meets that she wants to have 10 babies. And, based on what I see in her currently, I think that she could mother that many marvelously. I truly adore her. Here she is making her family dinner, a chicken curry casserole. Her "favorite" she claims, but she says that of everything.

One day I am going to come in the kitchen and find her with a roast in the oven, asparagus blanching and bread rising. And I will only be a little bit surprised.

Chicken Curry Casserole

2 cups cooked chopped chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup light mayo
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 cup goop
(goop is my veggies in disguise - pureed in the food processor and mixed in so no one can tell. Usually we do carrots, chick peas or broccoli, or any combination of those. Chick peas are easy to conceal in both taste and color. Carrots are a close second and broccoli a distant third - the green is hard to hide. I tell the kids it is just some sprinkles when they ask;)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cups croutons

Mix the first 5 ingredients and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with cheese and croutons. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

July 02, 2008

Pedicures and Pony Rides

This past weekend I pried the mom hat off of my head for some r&r with a few gal pals. It is amazing how 28 hours of fun can refuel a person! We headed to Berkeley Springs, WV for a 2-night getaway. We began our trip with a great dinner -- although my hands were a little twitchy at first not having to cut anyone's food for them. The next morning we headed to a nearby WV state park for some horseback riding, had lunch, did some fast paced antique shopping, visited the spa, went for a drive and finished with a delicious dinner. Right as we paid for dinner the storms that had been passing through caused a power outage throughout the town. Our little inn was very quaint all lit up with candles -- and also very hot since the ac wasn't working! We checked out early and our fabulous 2-night getaway turned into a fabulous 1-nighter, and we all surprised our hubs by returning late that night. Ahhh, I think that I'm good for another year now. Mom hat back on.

Thanks, girls, for a carefree weekend -

And thank you, dear hubs, for holding down the fort:)